Sunday, March 27, 2011

Obama to Defend U.S. Imperialist War Against the North African State of Libya

Obama to defend actions in Mideast

By Richard McGregor in Washington
Financial Times
Last updated: March 27 2011 21:00

The Obama administration has launched a concerted defence of military action against Libya and its broader response to the upheavals in the Middle East ahead of an address to the nation by the president.

Barack Obama’s decision to make a nationally-televised speech on Monday night follows criticism and disquiet about the administration’s failure to offer a coherent framework for US foreign policy.

The criticism has not been uniform, with many national security specialists saying Mr Obama has had to juggle an unprecedented range of challenges in a brief period affecting longtime allies and foes.

Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, and Robert Gates, defence secretary, in joint TV appearances on Sunday, said the Libya action had succeeded in preventing a humanitarian catastrophe. But they resisted offering a time frame for ending US involvement – even as Washington hands over formal control to Nato – and also sought to distinguish Libya from other protest movements.

While deploring the bloodshed in Syria, Mrs Clinton said the situation did not warrant intervention because the level of violence was not the same as in Libya. “There’s a difference between calling out aircraft and indiscriminately strafing and bombing your own cities [like Libya], than police actions which frankly have exceeded the use of force that any of us would want to see,” she said.

A US response to Syria, she said, would depend on the condemnation by and the action of the Arab League, the UN and elsewhere.

“If there were a coalition of the international community, if there was the passage of a Security Council resolution, if there were a call by the Arab League, if there was a condemnation that was universal, but that is not going to happen because I don’t think it is yet clear what will occur, what will unfold,” she said in an interview on CBS.

Mr Gates said the Pentagon was already planning to draw down its resources for Libya.

“[Libya] was not a vital national interest to the US, but ... you had a potentially significantly destabilising event in Libya that put at risk potentially the revolutions in both Tunisia and Egypt,” he said.

Despite criticism of the US’s initially slow response, Mrs Clinton called the rapid assembly of the anti-Gaddafi coalition “a watershed moment in international decision making”.

“We saw what happened in Rwanda. It took a long time in the Balkans, in Kosovo, to deal with a tyrant. What has happened since March 1, and we’re not even done with the month, demonstrates really remarkable leadership,” she said.

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